Evacuee experience brings history to life

A group of Cambo First School pupils with the gas masks they made for the evacuees sleepover activity.
A group of Cambo First School pupils with the gas masks they made for the evacuees sleepover activity.
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Gas masks were at the ready when a Northumberland school put together an evacuees-themed activity.

The summer term whole school topic has been finding out what life was like for children who were sent away from their home during the early months of the Second World War and as well as research during classes, there have been visits to Eden Camp in Yorkshire and the Imperial War Museum in London.

And to reinforce the learning experience, staff at Cambo First School used drama to take the children back in time for two days as they became evacuees. A sleepover was also organised.

It involved the children being sent to Cambo from the fictitious Brick Lane Primary in Newcastle. Some of the parents played their part – crying as they saw their children off, writing letters to them and sending them parcels.

Wearing typical clothing from the period, they went to Wallington, where more than 100 children stayed during the war, and they saw the evacuee rooms. But they were then told that they had to leave because they were not on the list.

Headteacher Paula Cummings said: “We had to walk all the way back to Cambo, where we were met by another billeting officer.

“Our teeth were checked and nails were cleaned, then we had to make gas masks and bags for them and we also did a drill in our classes, among other activities. In addition, our fabulous cook made a lovely World War II meal using our rations.

“The pupils didn’t enjoy everything, but it was a wonderful learning experience for them.”